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Another four were missing. The Army battalion fell back to night positions
in Lam Xuan West and called in supporting arms on the enemy in Nhi Ha.

On 3 May, while BLT 2/4 and the 1st Battalion, 3d Marines had a relatively
quiet time in the Dai Do sector, the Army battalion again fought a see-saw
battle with the North Vietnamese in Nhi Ha. After Marine artillery softened
the enemy defenses, the 3d Battalion launched another attack into Nhi
Ha. The troops recovered the bodies of the four members of the battalion
reported missing the night before. About noon, the enemy struck back
with the first of three counterattacks. While repulsing the attacks,
the Army unit fell back to permit Marine air once more to hit the enemy
defenses. The airstrikes were accurate but North Vietnamese antiaircraft
guns downed one of the Chance Vaught F-8 Crusaders, killing the pilot.
Although unable to take Nhi Ha and returning again to their night positions
at Lam Xuan West, the Army battalion sustained relatively light casualties
during the day, 1 dead and 7 wounded while accounting for 67 of the
enemy.54

The fighting at Nhi Ha the following day was a repetition of that
of the 3d. Once more, Marine air and artillery bombarded the enemy in
Nhi Ha. At 0936, the Army troops again attacked, but only to find themselves
once more enmeshed in the North Vietnamese field fortifications and
bunkers. The 3d Battalion spent another night in defensive positions
in Lam Xuan West. At 0940 on the morning of 5 May, after the usual air
and artillery bombardment, the 3d Battalion again moved into the attack.
Encountering almost no resistance, the battalion reported at 1135, "Nhi
Ha was secured." The Army soldiers found 64 North Vietnamese bodies
in the hamlet, all killed by supporting arms. All told, the 3d Battalion
suffered 16 dead and 33 wounded while it estimated that the North Vietnamese
lost more than 200 men in the three-day struggle for Nhi Ha.55

In the meantime, the fighting had shifted westward. After a short hiatus
in the Dai Do area, on the morning of 5 May, Lieutenant Colonel Jarman's
1st Battalion, 3d Marines attacked north from Thuong Do towards True
Kinh, a distance of 1,200 meters to the northwest. The 2d ARVN regiment
was to protect the battalion's western flank. With Companies C and D
in the lead and Company B following in trace, the Marine battalion reached
its first objective, the hamlet of Som Soi, about 300 meters southeast
of True Kinh, encountering only token resistance. Within a short time,
however, about 1130, the Marine battalion came under heavy fire from
True Kinh and some scattered fire from the southeast. Calling in artillery
and fixed-wing airstrikes, especially against True Kinh, the battalion
fought its way through Som Soi.56


At this point, about 1250 on the 5th, the North Vietnamese launched a counterattack from True Kinh with Company D on the eastern flank bearing the brunt of the assault. Lieutenant Colonel Jarman then ordered Company C to swing around to the right to contain the enemy attack while Company B screened the movement. This maneuver, however, exposed the battalion's western flank since the 2d ARVN Regiment's attack to the southwest had already stalled and the South Vietnamese were in no position to support the Marines. According to Jarman, an aerial observer radioed him that "500 Charlies were preparing to flank our position."57 Colonel Hull, the 3d Marines commander, upon learning of the situation, immediately requested reinforcements. The 3d Division released Companies I and M, 3d Battalion, 4th Marines to the operational control of the 3d Marines. Marine helicopters brought the two companies into a landing zone near Thuong Do. Despite the loss of one helicopter, the two 4th Marines companies quickly advanced to the northwest to provide protection for Jarman's western flank. After consolidating his positions in a defensive perimeter established by Companies I and M in a tree line, about 1,000 meters to the south of True Kinh, Lieutenant Colonel Jarman described the situation "relatively routine" as Marine air and artillery continued to pound the enemy.58 About 1800, the North Vietnamese broke contact.


On the morning of the 6th, Companies C and D again reoccupied Soi Son without meeting any resistance. While Company D provided protective fire, Company C then advanced upon True Kinh. By 1400 that afternoon, the 1st Battalion had secured the latter hamlet. Most of the North Vietnamese had fled except for the dead from the previous fighting, and three NVA soldiers who surrendered to the Marines. In the two-day action for True Kinh, the Marines reported 173 of the enemy dead, captured 3 prisoners, and recovered 75 rifles and 19 crew-served weapons. The Marines sustained casualties of 15 dead and 71 wounded.


While Lieutenant Colonel Jarman's command enjoyed a relatively uneventful day on the 6th, about five miles to the northeast, the U.S. Army 3d Battalion, 21st Infantry's Nhi Ha sector again became active. The North Vietnamese ambushed the battalion's Company A which was conducting a sweep






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